Friday, February 4, 2011

Ask Ida

Can I clean without toxic chemicals?

Dear Ida B. Green,

I've got a couple of tough household cleaners that my wife dislikes. I tell her, "If it doesn't stink, it's not working."

Signed, Hard on Stains

Dear Hard,

If you need a bit of stink to believe in your cleaner, but want fewer toxic chemicals in your life, make friends with vinegar. Vinegar is a powerful cleaner for washing windows, floors, or even removing mold and mildew.

For Ida's Window Cleaner, mix 3 tablespoons of white vinegar, 2 cups water, ½ teaspoon Castile soap and fill up your old cleaner's spray bottle for just pen-nies.

To get rid of mold, spray with undiluted vinegar to provide a powerful smell and effective fungicide. However, an antiseptic that may be easier on the whole family can be made by mixing 2 drops of tea tree oil in 1 cup of water. Spray, and leave on to help prevent new growth.

Another great all-purpose cleaner is baking soda. Make a cleaning paste by mixing baking soda and wa-ter or baking soda and a touch of dish soap. I rub it on my bath's white mineral deposits, rinse, and enjoy the odorless clean. But if you still want a recognizable smell with your clean, use the flesh side of half a lemon to wipe this paste onto your surface and the lemony scent will provide your olfactory reward.

Keep it Green,


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